One might wonder, living in this century, at this pinnacle intersection of all enterprise, knowledge, technology, and expertise, that we ought to truly understand things in advance of their occurrence rather than staring at each other after the fact, as if someone else is the source of this crazy-causation, wondering what happened or why things went so horribly wrong?
And our counterparts stare back at us, wondering why we, rather than they, are the ones who are crazy.
Recent happenings (i.e., COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. presidential election) amplify several issues I see as intricate examinations of human deportment, concerning how we communicate, how we reason, and how we misread and misinterpret.
And how we so clumsily avoid gripping these dilemmas by their horns.
The problem is not collective stupidity or misallocated smartness – but instead, intolerance and lack of understanding. It is too easy to be dismissive, and inside the mouse’s wheel of social media and old media, it’s more akin to questionable quality art called mixed-media.
I like disagreeing with people, not to be disagreeable, but to debate and discuss valid points of view about things that matter. Considering anyone in some obscure location of another country – in a place I’ve never been, living their life I don’t understand, I can’t embrace their reality, so why would I want to dismiss them as if I know anything about them, or have the right to make decisions about their lives? But we, and our elected surrogates, do it every day.
Sadly, the ‘us v. them’ thinking which dominates political discourse, the absence of empathy and understanding about how people make a community, and how communities make a country gets lost.
It would be easy to say I’m commenting about the country next door – but I’m not. I’m as distressed about the direction, the management, and the politics of the one I call home. Canada and its leaders have not cornered the market on smarts or solutions. More and more, I realize the biggest problem we collectively have in modern society is the notion that any government is going to solve problems for us – or that such as responsibility should be its job description.
I’ll be first to support my government helping people – but isn’t the better government the unobtrusive one, the one that doesn’t get in our way, the one which supports and offers a framework for our right to solve our own life, to fulfill our ambitions without hitting roadblocks, walls, or ceilings along our way?
I label myself a ‘small-L’ conservative, meaning I believe in the lean fiscal management of a kind, caring, and even-handed government when it comes to helping its citizens, particularly those who have difficulty managing for themselves who need help. I’m wondering if I should re-brand myself as a ‘pale-blue’ liberal.
Critics of politicians, governments, and media pundits will, soon I expect, be telling us all what went wrong and who caused it, tell us why things are a mess and who is to blame – but like the very politicians and bureaucrats they criticize, they ought to spend more reflective time examining their role and actions (and especially so their in-actions) in terms of what they’ve contributed to making life better for someone other than themselves.
Those of us consuming media coverage of the U.S. elections – or any other media/politics spectacles worldwide, should recognize our appetite for this is voyeurism, which intrusiveness lacks legitimacy if we only sit on our couch watching. Watching is not a contribution by any definition.
The world will change or not.
You and I see things from our vantage point geographically and from our philosophical viewpoint.
I believe we – meaning the collective we – widely accept the possibility, this notion that some problems are without solutions. Yet, that seems like an excuse for not making an effort to solve the problem.
I believe a simple, elegant solution to a complex problem is mankind’s highest achievement – yet failure to try hard enough defines most of us most days.
I cannot conceive what comes next, but somehow feel I should be able to.
The sooner people who call themselves different or opposed start shaking hands more, finding common cause to smile and work together rather than dismissing one another, the better the whole planet will function. And it will make my day too …